moshe a. milevsky with anna abaimova
Jorge Guinle—the famous Brazilian playboy—died on March 5, 2004, in Rio de Janeiro. According to the obituary that appeared in the Financial Times, Guinle had been born to one of the wealthiest families in Brazil and spent a large part of his life and disposable income dating famous Hollywood starlets such as Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, and Marilyn Monroe. This hobby was obviously quite expensive, and he apparently squandered most of his family's fortune well before his death at the age of 88. His investment acumen did little to offset his spending. He is reported to have invested (and lost) millions in a variety of poorly executed business ventures. In fact, in an interview a few years before his death, Guinle said, "The secret of living well is to die without a cent in your pocket. But I miscalculated, and the money ran out too early."
Guinle was obviously a very colorful character and hardly the typical client for a financial adviser, but imagine for a moment that you had the opportunity to speak to Guinle on his deathbed and ask him: "Jorge, why did you run out of money? Is it because you spent too much, or because you did so poorly with your investments, or is it because you lived too long?" What do you think Guinle would have answered? Obviously, all three factors contributed to his estate's disarray, but which one was the most critical?
These questions—though they might ...